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Wednesday, 17 August 2011
Page: 4605

Senator BIRMINGHAM (South Australia) (09:34): These regulations, which were tabled yesterday, do set out the terms for the eligible offsets projects, the additionality test and the types of projects. Within that, they provide for what has become known as the negative list. However, the amendment we are considering is to clause 56—to the excluded offsets projects—and will add another term of reference as such for how we might consider what the negative risks or negative impacts of certain kinds of projects would be. As I see it, these draft regulations have been developed looking at the terms of clause 56(2) as it exists in this bill to date, with part (a) being the availability of water, (b) being the conservation of biodiversity, (c) being employment factors and (d) being the impact on the local community. Those four things are, to varying degrees, considered and captured in the draft regulations as to how excluded offsets projects would be taken into account. This part (e), of course, is not in the printed bill, but the government has known for a long period of time now that it would become part of the bill and, should the bill pass into law, become part of the act. So, whilst I understand the minister saying that it becomes a factor, in a sense, for the reverse consideration of eligible projects on the positive list, this of course is a section detailing the excluded projects and the process by which the negative list is constructed. So I again ask the minister: for the purposes of these regulations—which, presumably, your departmental officers have been working on throughout the last five weeks of the recess period; we presume that because we only got to see them yesterday morning—what consideration has been given in their development to this proposed new section (e) around land access for agricultural production? And, if you can point me to it in these draft regulations, how is that reflected in the draft that is before us? Because, frankly, I cannot see that any consideration has been given to date.